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If you’re looking for how to become rich overnight, I’ve got good news and bad news.

The bad news is: it’s basically impossible.

The good news is: there’s a strategy that’s been proven to work time and time again as being the best way to build wealth.

Sure, you won’t be able to get rich in five minutes or even become a millionaire in three months. But as you’ll see, the data shows that with a bit of patience, you can easily become rich over time, even if you’re on an average salary.

How to become rich overnight?

In almost all cases, you cannot become rich overnight. Instead, putting some proven strategies in place and managing your money effectively will, in the end, make you wealthy and are much more likely to work than any get-rich-quick scheme.

There’s also absolutely no need to be on a high income to become rich. Instead, what’s far more important is committing to these strategies over the long term – and starting to put them into play as soon as possible.

That is, with effective money management and some patience, we’ll show you the exact process that people continue to use to build their wealth… so you can easily do the same.

(And if you’re looking to really work on your money management, I can’t recommend Personal Capital highly enough. It’s a completely FREE app that basically automates your finances – perfect for taking control of your money.)

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Is it possible to become rich overnight?

The only ways to become rich overnight are to win the lottery or some other major prize, be the beneficiary of a large inheritance or otherwise receive a large windfall. In almost all other cases, it is impossible to become rich overnight and having this as your goal can actually cost you more money in the end.

That said, when it comes to how to become rich in one day, even those few examples where this might be possible have basically no chance of happening.

1. Lottery

Winning the lottery is the first thing that most people think of when wondering if they can become a millionaire overnight. 

And while it’s possible, according to Powerball themselves, the odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million.

To look at this another way, the largest stadium by capacity in the US is Michigan Stadium, with an official capacity of 107,601.

michigan stadium
Source: Andrew Horne. CC BY 3.0

If you were at this stadium and they were drawing a ticket for one person there to win a multimillion dollar jackpot, you’d pretty much tell yourself you have basically no chance of winning.

Well, to win the Powerball jackpot, it would be like choosing a winner from 2,715 Michigan Stadiums. In case you can’t tell, this is basically the opposite of a done deal.

(Although, yes, there are occasionally incredible stories. Check out this one about a woman whose left hand was itching and it led to a huge lottery win.)

2. Inheritance

According to the latest SCF report, the typical value of all inheritances received by families with a parent who has a college degree is $92,700. This drops to $76,200 for families without a parent who has a college degree.

While receiving an amount like this would definitely be helpful, you really couldn’t describe them as making someone rich.

And sure, there is the occasional story you hear of a long lost relative they’d never heard of leaving someone millions of dollars. Check out this story, for example, of a journalism student who received 950 million euros in the will of an uncle he hadn’t seen in 10 years.

But these are beyond rare and shouldn’t form part of anyone’s wealth building strategy.

Related: Old Money vs New Money: What’s the Difference and Does it Matter?

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3. Other windfall

There is the very, very rare example of some other windfall allowing someone to become rich overnight. But these often actually aren’t overnight successes and come on the back of years of legal wrangling or investments.

For instance

  • Court settlement: Some people have been awarded millions of dollars in court settlements, but these don’t involve them becoming rich in one day from nowhere. Instead, they’re usually awarded after years of legal proceedings, not to mention that these funds are likely being used to offset things like lost earnings or medical costs, as well as the massive legal fees often involved.
  • An investment that suddenly does amazingly well: We’ve all heard the stories of people who bought some shares in a small start-up that was then sold to Google or even early Bitcoin purchasers. But none of them can be considered overnight successes, as there would have been years of waiting for this success to arrive.
  • Finding something valuable: Sure, buried treasure does exist and if you’ve ever watched Antiques Roadshow, you know that some people have this treasure living in their basement, waiting to be rediscovered one day. In fact, in those cases, you could make a good argument that this is, actually, one way to become rich overnight. But there’s often a lot of other work involved to get to that point, including things like questions of ownership, so don’t count on it.

How can I get rich with no money? 

To get rich with no money, you need to put some strategies into play that have been proven to make people wealthy. It won’t happen overnight but, over time, you’re almost guaranteed to become rich by following these systems:

  1. Control your spending
  2. Get into the right mindset
  3. Commit for the long haul
  4. Pay off (and stay out of) debt
  5. Set clear, actionable goals
  6. Start investing as early as possible
  7. Keep learning
  8. Build up your income
  9. Automate your finances
  10. Stay the course

To see exactly how this works in detail (including the math that proves it!), take a look at our article on how to get rich from nothing.

How to get rich with a normal job

The best way to get rich with a normal job is to pay off any high-interest debt and start investing as early as possible. As your investments compound over time, your wealth will build, allowing even someone with an average salary to become a millionaire.

This is, in fact, how people get rich most of the time, as proven in The Millionaire Next Door.

This book studied the profiles of almost 300 millionaires in the US and determined that most are actually living in middle class, blue-collar neighborhoods. In addition, the book found that most millionaires achieved their wealth by earning an average salary.

You can see our full breakdown of this book in this article, including how you can do the same thing. However, it’s safe to say that it definitely proves that it’s possible to get rich with a normal job rather than a six-figure salary.

In fact, just take a look at this table which shows you exactly how you can become a millionaire based on your starting age and how much you can invest (assuming 7% annual returns):

table showing how long until you have one million dollars to be a millionaire by seeing at what age you will have $1,000,000

What jobs can make you rich?

Any job can make you rich if you spend less than you earn and invest the rest. That said, jobs with higher incomes can make you richer faster, with the highest paid job in the US being anesthesiologists with an average salary of $261,730.

In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the ten highest paid jobs in the US on average are all in the healthcare field. They include:

  1. Anesthesiologists: $261,730
  2. Surgeons: $252,040
  3. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons: $237,570
  4. Obstetricians-Gynecologists: $233,610
  5. Orthodontists: $230,830
  6. Prosthodontists: $220,840
  7. Psychiatrists: $220,430
  8. Family Medicine Physicians: $213,270
  9. Physicians (Other): $206,500
  10. Internal Medicine Physicians: $201,440

All that said, it’s worth revisiting the findings in The Millionaire Next Door, which observed that most millionaires in the US are actually earning average salaries.

This shows two things. Firstly, earning a high income is not a guarantee that your job can make you rich. In fact, it can actually come with a massive risk of you spending too much to “keep up with the Joneses”.

(This is exactly where the debate of being rich vs wealthy comes from, actually)

Secondly, earning a more average income is not a guarantee that you won’t be rich. Sure, it may take you longer than if you were an anesthesiologist. But with some solid financial management, a personal financial plan and some patience, this can easily help you become rich – just not overnight, unfortunately.

Related: 17 Best Financial Planning Quotes to Inspire Your Money Makeover

How can I be a millionaire in 5 years?

To become a millionaire in five years, you’ll need to do a few key things:

  1. Pay off all high interest debt
  2. Limit your spending
  3. Start investing as much as you can immediately and consistently
  4. Boost your earnings, including by developing multiple streams of income
  5. Create short term financial milestones alongside your longer term one
  6. Monitor your finances and adjust as needed

If you’re starting from zero, it’s not going to be easy but it’s definitely doable.

For instance, if you invest all your money in broad market index funds that track the S&P 500 (which is actually how I invest my money, as it’s low-cost, reliable and easy to simply set and forget), the average annual return is 8%.

Not sure how to start investing?

The Simple Path to Wealth
is the book I recommend to everyone for this. It literally shows you everything you need to do to build your net worth from zero to seven-figures. In fact, it’s the exact strategy I follow for investing my own money.

To become wealthy in five years by becoming a millionaire through investing in this way, you’d have to invest $157,830.05 per year – yes, don’t forget the five cents!

Clearly, that won’t be possible for everyone. And there’s no reason why you can’t take a few extra years to do the same.

(If you want to see how much your investments will be worth in future, this simple, free compound interest calculator does the job.)

But people have done it – like this person, for example, who followed the exact steps outlined above to reach that point.

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What do rich people invest in?

Thanks to data from the IRS, we can see the most common income streams for millionaires. This, in turn, can give us a good idea of what do rich people invest in, as it includes:

  1. Publicly traded stock – includes individual shares and mutual funds
  2. Other real estate – includes commercial property, REITs and “residential property other than the personal residence”
  3. Cash assets – not only is this actual cash, but also bank accounts, certificates of deposit and money market accounts. This shows they generally maintain a healthy liquid net worth.
  4. Bonds
  5. Closely held stock – this is stock in companies that isn’t publicly traded
  6. Retirement assets – IRAs and 401(k) accounts fall into this category
  7. Personal residence – where the person lives
  8. Real estate partnerships – these are partnerships where the main function is the ownership of real estate
  9. Other limited partnerships
  10. Other non-corporate business assets – this is where the person is either a sole proprietor or a partner in a business partnership

This information is taken from the IRS’ estate tax statistics, meaning it primarily shows the assets held by people who died in 2018 whose estate when they died was worth at least $5.49 million.

And it gives a pretty good indication of how people at that level of wealth split their assets. While it’s true that not all of these are investments (such as your personal residence), most of them are.

In particular, it shows how investing in shares and real estate seem to be the most popular way for millionaires to allocate their money. This should be no surprise, given how these are pretty widely accepted as the most popular – and often most successful – forms of investing.

Related: 10 Best Personal Finance Podcasts for Beginners

How to become rich fast

It is essentially impossible to become rich overnight. However, by spending less than you earn and investing the rest, it’s certainly possible to become rich over the course of several years thanks to compound interest.

Unfortunately, this means that if you’re looking for things like “how can I get rich in 5 minutes?”, there’s really no answer. Yes, even if you believe the superstitions about when your right hand is itching.

But by following the steps we went through earlier, you can become rich faster than you probably think. This is especially the case if you start investing sooner rather than later.

In fact, as you may have noticed from the table earlier in this article – which may be pretty unsurprising – the more you invest, the faster you’ll become a millionaire. 

But this table also showed that the earlier you start investing is actually a more important point, as it gives your money even more time to compound in value and build upon itself.

What is the fastest way to be rich?

The fastest way to get rich is to follow the steps we outlined above. That is:

  1. Pay off all high interest debt
  2. Limit your spending
  3. Start investing as much as you can immediately and consistently
  4. Boost your earnings, including by developing multiple streams of income
  5. Create short term financial milestones alongside your longer term one
  6. Monitor your finances and adjust as needed

This strategy has been proven to work time and time again when it comes to making people rich.

All those get-rich-quick schemes are absolute scams, as there is, unfortunately, no way to get rich by tomorrow. But you really don’t need to even consider these when the process of actually getting rich is as simple as the list above.

Sure, it will take some time. But by committing yourself to your ultimate objective of a certain net worth and staying the course over the coming years, you’ll quickly see the value of your investments start to grow.

(Plus, isn’t all that patience worthwhile when you consider that it’s been proven that money really does buy happiness?)

How much money do I need to never work again?

To work out how much money you need to never work again, calculate your annual spending and multiply it by 25. For example, if you spend $40,000 per year, you’ll need $1,000,000 in order to retire.

This is based on what’s called the “four percent rule”. The rule is based on a study that found that if you withdraw 4% of your retirement savings every year, they won’t run out – on the understanding that your investments will continue to grow at the same time.

There are some caveats to this. For example, in years where there are economic downturns, meaning your investments may actually drop in value, you’ll be expected to also withdraw less than the previous years. 

However, according to the study, as long as this withdrawal rate stays at 4% of your total savings during your retirement, you shouldn’t ever have to work again.

Final thoughts on how to become rich overnight

If you’re looking for something like how you can get rich in 5 minutes, you’re not going to find anything worth using beyond some bad ways to make money – that will probably cost you even more in the end.

This is because (unfortunately) it’s basically impossible to become rich overnight. But you also don’t need to when the way to actually become wealthy has been proven to work time and time again.

Sure, it does take some patience as there aren’t that many legit ways to become rich fast. 

But wouldn’t you rather control your spending, keep an eye on your money and invest solidly for the next 20 years rather than working for the next 40 years – or even more? 

With, say, 20 years being more than enough time for you to become a millionaire, you’ll quickly see that having to sacrifice some patience is more than worth it when you see what the payoff is: complete financial freedom.

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About the author

Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been seen in Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. She’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom using the experience gained from turning $60,000 in debt into a thriving investment portfolio. Find out more.